Distribution Automatique

Tuesday, December 21

The Tao of Reading, continued

Every once in awhile you see a movie or read a book
you find yourself thinking about much longer than usual.
*Cloud 8* by Grant Bailie is that kind of book.
I know I will reread it very soon; I need a little
time before reading it again, so I can soak up
all the metaphysical and experiential nuances that
keep occuring to me since reading it the first time,
a few days ago. I read it breathlessly, greedily,
anxiously, joyfully in one night and one

James Broadhurst wakes up after a fatal
car accident to find himself in an afterlife
just as tedious, boring and uninspiring,
if not more so, than his life had been. He
is assigned a boring roommate, is drafted into
a boring job and disovers his boss to be a spoiled
hypocrite. His escapes consist of alcohol and television, but
television in the aferlife consists of watching
all the endlessly tedious details of the daily
lives of all the people he loved and who, from
one degree or another, cared about him. Chief
among these is his father, who he disovers
was a much more caring person than he ever
realized during his actual life.

The most incredible thing about this book is
the way Grant Bailie forces, or beguiles the reader into
confronting the experiential evidence that the most fascinating
thing about life is the way we think about
it, is our thoughts and interpretations themselves. Everything
"out there" to learn from is right at hand; your
noisy upstairs neighbor might be an angel
in disguise; the guy sitting next to you on
a barstool might rescue you from an eternity
of terror for a night; "whatever gets you through
the night is alright," as John Lennon put it.

This book deserves to be a movie; it has exactly
the same attributes to offer us, potentially, as Bill
Murray's hilarious, haunting
and achingly profound, *Groundhog Day."
Another resonant precedent (you youngsters
may not have seen this one)
It's A Wonderful Life
{click here}

Listen up, producers: We need this movie!

Here's an interview with Grant Bailie; scroll
down to find a link to one of his stories:
Smoking with Grant Bailie {click here}